Ravens Fall in Season Opener
Not in any way, shape, or form was this the way the Ravens were hoping to begin their season. The first was among one of the worst halves we have seen from the Ravens in a good while. Down 15-0, the Ravens did not begin to show any real offensive production until late in the game, but by that time it was too late.
It had been said all offseason and preseason that Flacco and Co. would have to make a big improvement from the previous year. They did not show much, save for perhaps a few promising glimpses in their running game – surprisingly coming from Justin Forsett, who racked up 70 yards and a TD run. Bernard Pierce’s chances of potentially staying the second-tier running back to Ray Rice may have all but evaporated as he fumbled the ball early and did not receive a carry the remainder of the ball game.
Joe Flacco, once again swayed his critics further to believing that the blockbuster extension he received at the end of the 2012-13 season was a mistake. He was atrociously inconsistent and cost the Ravens a chance to, at least, put three points on the board in the final play of the first half. Instead of throwing the ball away with eight seconds left, he scrambled until he was tracked down by a Bengals defender. 35/62, 345 passing yards, 1TD, 1INT are less than remarkable numbers. He and the offense were being upended by Cincinnati’s defense for the first thirty minutes and overall turned in a very dismal performance. And by the way, a lot of those incompletions came at the hands of the receivers (no pun intended).
Later, despite the offensive shortcomings seen for the majority of the game, the Ravens took a one-point lead only to see Andy Dalton throw a 77-yard TD strike to AJ Green moments later. Given one last chance, Flacco lead the Baltimore offense downfield, and just when the opportune moment had come to knot the game at 23 a piece, Flacco was sacked on consecutive third and fourth down plays that subsequently ended the hopes for a comeback.
The defense was by no stretch as bad as the scoreboard and the plays made by the Bengals showed. It is just so commonplace for a defense that has been outfield for an astounding amount of time to eventually break. With all the three and outs and turnovers by Baltimore in the first half, the Ravens defense held out all game. The Bengals had settled for five field goals until the late go-ahead score to Green, but again, when the offense continues to place pressure upon the defense, bad things will eventually happen.
With another game to be played against arch-rival, Pittsburgh before the week is out, the Ravens must quickly regroup and cohere offensively if they are to have any chance of winning and returning to the postseason.